VAT on sun protection cream in spite of rising melanoma cases

Skin Cancer

I ask the Leader to bring it to the attention of the Minister for Health and the Minister for Finance a matter that could be, at this late stage, rectified in the budget. I refer to the absurd situation whereby sun creams and sun blocks are levied with VAT at 23%. They are charged the same rate of VAT as luxury cosmetic items. This takes place in a country where the incidence of malignant melanoma in the decade following 1998 doubled from 400 to 800 and the number of cases of fatal malignant melanoma virtually doubled from 100 to nearly 200, with every projection showing it is likely to continue on an upward trajectory at least through the next decade. We are genetically unsuited to sunny weather and designed by God to live under the grey misty skies of Ireland. We do not do well in the sun but we now know that we can protect ourselves against it. A critical component of this is wearing adequate sun protection and it is absurd that we are charging 23% VAT. I have suggested it should be brought to 0% and that sunblock and sun cream be considered medicinal products. Instead, a tax should be levied on sunbeds in the short term pending the banning of sunbeds. People can work out the arithmetic. What we receive from the VAT charged on sun creams should be charged as a tax on sunbeds to recoup the exact amount. I ask the Leader to bring these matters to the attention of the learned gentlemen.

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